Votto delivers 10th inning winner for Reds

BY foxsports • July 2, 2009

Joey Votto still has his touch in the clutch.

Votto turned a tough pitch into a two-out single with the bases loaded in the 10th inning Thursday, sending Cincinnati to a 3-2 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks on an afternoon that was as frustrating as it gets for the Reds until the final swing.

Leave it to Votto to come through.

"For him to come back and come up big like that, it's great," right fielder Jay Bruce said. "It's great for anyone, but even more for him."

The Reds went 8-13 with their best hitter on the disabled list for 21 games with anxiety issues - Votto grieved the death of his father. Since returning June 23, he's batted .395 and given the Reds' struggling offense a dependable run producer.

His fourth hit matched Arizona's total and decided a game full of wasted chances by both teams.

Cincinnati loaded the bases with none out against Clay Zavada (1-2), stringing together a walk and a pair of singles. After Laynce Nix struck out and Jerry Hairston Jr. flied out to shallow right field, Votto hit a sinking liner past shortstop Augie Ojeda, who dived and barely missed the ball.

"I jammed him," Zavada said. "It's not like he got good wood on it. It wasn't a makable play. It was in a hole, in a good spot. He didn't crush it."

Votto pointed toward the dugout in celebration as he ran to first base, savoring his best moment since he got back.

"It all happened so quickly," Votto said. "When it got past him, I was just really happy."

Francisco Cordero (1-2) escaped a bases-loaded threat in the 10th with the help of a double play. Justin Upton hit a routine fly to Bruce, whose throw home beat the tagging Alex Romero for the third out. Bruce then had a bunt single during the Reds' winning rally.

Arizona lost for the 10th time in 12 games, falling a season-high 17 games under .500. The Diamondbacks have repeatedly wasted good pitching during the slump, done in by bad defense and a low-scoring offense.

This one was as bad as any.

"Today was a gut shot," manager A.J. Hinch said. "We had a chance to win a close game. We didn't find a way to get the last piece."

The Diamondbacks were in position to get a victory for tough-luck starter Doug Davis, who gave up one run through seven innings. Reliever Chad Qualls let a 2-1 lead get away in the ninth when Drew Sutton grounded into a forceout that produced the tying run in his first big-league plate appearance.

Cincinnati repeatedly wasted chances against Davis, loading the bases twice but failing to score. The Reds finally got it right in the 10th, surrounding Votto after he provided their third game-ending hit of the season. Cincinnati left 16 runners on base.

"I was telling (coach) Mark Berry that they're trying to kill the old skipper, especially with leaving all of those runners on base like that," manager Dusty Baker said. "We kept the pressure on all day long, and if you keep the pressure on, you've got a chance. I told them the other day that they should be tired and spent after a game. Everybody's exhausted today."

Imagine how the Diamondbacks felt.

"It's a brutal loss," Hinch said. "Make no mistake."

It was another case of the Diamondbacks wasting a solid performance by a starting pitcher. Davis is 0-2 with three no-decisions in his last five starts, which is no reflection on his performance. He'd given up only five earned runs in his last four games.

Aaron Harang knows the feeling.

Harang hasn't won since May 25, going 0-4 with three no-decisions. He gave up two runs in seven innings, including Mark Reynolds' solo homer that made it 2-1 in the sixth.

Cincinnati's offense goes into a shell whenever Harang faces the Diamondbacks. The right-hander has a 1.75 career ERA against Arizona but is only 2-4 in nine starts. Cincinnati has scored a total of 19 runs in those nine games.

Notes: Arizona managed a total of six hits while losing the last two games. The Diamondbacks are 10-15 in one-run games. ... The slumping Bruce was out of Cincinnati's starting lineup, but went into right field as part of a double switch in the eighth. He fouled out with two runners aboard in the bottom of the inning. ... C Ryan Hanigan had three hits, a career high.

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